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168体育|东芝假账丑闻的教训 The universal dangers shown by Toshiba’s failings

发布时间:2021-09-25 丨 浏览次数:586

本文摘要:The causes and consequences of the long-running inflation of profits by Toshiba reflect some uniquely Japanese cultural norms. So, inevitably, did the 2011 scandal at Olympus, where successive leaders covered up accounting manipulation.东芝(Toshiba)长年虚报利润的原因和后果,体现出有日本一些独有的文化习俗。

The causes and consequences of the long-running inflation of profits by Toshiba reflect some uniquely Japanese cultural norms. So, inevitably, did the 2011 scandal at Olympus, where successive leaders covered up accounting manipulation.东芝(Toshiba)长年虚报利润的原因和后果,体现出有日本一些独有的文化习俗。奥林巴斯(Olympus)2011年传出的丑闻也必定如此。

奥林巴斯曾有倒数数位掌门人掩饰会计学操控的问题。But the genetic traces of those debacles are visible in plenty of other countries and companies. Self-satisfied boards of non-Japanese companies should examine the flaws that are common to all corporate cultures — almost certainly including their own.但是,这类败退背后的基因痕迹在很多其他国家和企业都能看见。非日本企业洋洋自得的董事会应当对所有企业文化中少见的缺点展开检查——完全认同还包括了它们自己的企业文化。After all, there are only so many ways of cooking the books, however varied the details of each case. In the introduction to his indispensable anthology of creative accounting, Michael Jones, a professor of financial reporting, identifies just four main strategies — increasing income, decreasing expenses, increasing assets and decreasing liabilities. Toshiba was doing the first, according to an independent report — but so, for example, was WorldCom, one of the most notorious US cases of accounting fraud, back in the early 2000s.却是,不作假账的方式过于多了,不过每种情况的细节有所不同。

财务申报方面的教授迈克尔琼斯(Michael Jones)在讲解假造账目方面不可或缺的全集时,说明了4种主要策略——增加收入、增加开支、减少资产以及增加负债。据一份独立国家报告称之为,东芝用于的是第一种手法——不过,荐个例子,世通(WorldCom)也是这么做到的,它是21世纪初最臭名昭著的美国假账案之一。Control failings are one common theme. The audit committee at Toshiba includes executive directors — a red flag to UK governance purists. But directors, auditors and risk managers can succumb to capture or groupthink anywhere. It took the financial crisis to enshrine the idea that UK banks’ chief risk officers should be more independent, for instance.掌控告终是一种少见主题。

东芝的审核委员会中包括继续执行董事——这对英国的公司管理纯粹主义者来说是一个危险性信号。但是,在任何地方,董事、审计员和风险管理者都可能会屈服于群体思维,或者被监督对象所俘虏。只有经历了金融危机才能铭记寄居这类观点——比如,英国银行的首席风险官应当更为独立国家。

As for lack of objective supervision, the UK principle that chief executives should be overseen by an independent chairman is widely ignored in the US. When boards do split the roles, it is often to give the former chief executive a stepping stone to retirement, an echo of the way former Toshiba and Olympus executives clung on to influence over their companies after they left. Even in the UK, companies are only one emergency decision or succession crisis away from appointing an executive chairman.至于缺少客观监督方面,英国对首席执行官不应拒绝接受独立国家董事长监督的原则,在美国被普遍忽视。当董事会的确让有所不同的人兼任这两个角色,这一般来说是给前任首席执行官一块通向卸任的垫脚石——这与东芝和奥林巴斯前首席执行官在卸任后不愿退出对公司影响力的情况互为交织。即便在英国,如果企业必须做到应急要求或是遭遇接任危机,也不会任命一位继续执行董事长。Unwillingness to challenge authority, a trait attributed to employees at Toshiba and Olympus — and often given an “only in Japan” spin — is a recurring problem everywhere, from Royal Bank of Scotland under Fred Goodwin to Fifa under Sepp Blatter.不愿挑战权威——这被指出是东芝和奥林巴斯的员工身上的特性,而且经常被张贴上“只经常出现在日本”的标签——是世界各地重复经常出现的问题,无论弗雷德古德温爵士(Sir Fred Goodwin)接掌时的苏格兰皇家银行(RBS)还是塞普布拉特(Sepp Blatter)领导的国际足联(Fifa)都不值得注意。

The assumption that non-Japanese companies benefit from the protection of more advanced governance codes is broadly true. But such armour can be paper-thin if not reinforced in practice. Enron was technically in line with US boardroom practice. Toshiba was itself held up as a model of governance. It started appointing outside directors to its board long before the Olympus fiasco prompted wider corporate reform in Japan.非日本企业获益于更加先进设备的管理法范的维护——这种设想基本是准确的。但是,这种保护性的盔甲可能会形同虚设,如果没有能在实践中修整的话。在法律层面,安然(Enron)与美国董事会的作法完全一致。

东芝本身被竖立为公司管理的典范。该公司任命外部董事转入董事会的作法,远早于奥林巴斯惨剧在日本引起全面企业改革。

The most important lesson from Toshiba is about the malign impact of top-down pressure to meet unrealistic targets. Toshiba’s ex-chief executive denies having given direct instructions to staff to inflate profits. But the investigating panel said he told executives to “use every possible measure to achieve profitability” and added that Toshiba’s corporate culture did “not allow employees to go against the will of their superiors”.从东芝获得的最重要教训是,为超过不切实际的目标而由上而下施加压力,不会带来不利影响。东芝前首席执行官坚称必要向员工做出虚报利润的命令。但是,调查委员会称之为,他曾向高管回应“利用一切有可能的手段来构建盈利”,该委员会还补足称之为,东芝的企业文化“不容许员工违反上级意愿”。

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Staff at target-chasing western banks before the credit crunch or at WorldCom ahead of its collapse in 2002 may recognise that picture. Bernie Ebbers, the telecoms group’s chief executive, “created, and the [then] board permitted, a corporate environment in which the pressure to meet the numbers was high, the departments that served as controls were weak, and the word of senior management was final and not to be challenged”, a WorldCom board investigation found in 2003.信贷削减前在追赶目标的西方银行业工作的员工、或者世通2002年倒闭前的员工,或许不会实在这画面似曾相识。2003年对世通董事会所做到的一份调查找到,时任该电信集团首席执行官的伯尼埃伯斯 (Bernie Ebbers)“建构了(董事会随后容许了)一种企业环境——已完成业绩数字的压力相当大、分担掌控职能的部门弱、低管层的命令毋庸置疑,会受到挑战”。If the Toshiba report were just a snapshot of how some Japanese companies are fossilised relics of what corporate governance used to look like elsewhere, the rest of the world could rest easy. But the rest of the world should not be so smug. A new survey suggests that internationally, 37 per cent of management accountants, who help companies seek out investments and control risks, have felt under pressure from managers or peers to compromise corporate ethics. The percentage has risen over the past three years in most places polled, including the UK and the US.如果这份关于东芝的报告意味着说明了出有,有些日本企业正是其他地方以往公司管理面貌的“化石遗址”,那么世界其他地方之后可高枕无忧。

但是,世界其他地方不应当如此安然寓。一份新的调查表明,全球37%的管理会计师(负责管理协助企业找寻投资并掌控风险)早已感觉到来自经理或同侪的、让其退出企业伦理的压力。在绝大多数拒绝接受调查的地区——还包括英国和美国——这一比例在过去三年均有所下降。

When aggressive targets, irresistible management pressure and weak controls coincide, misconduct can spread quickly. Rival companies see the inflated numbers and strain to match them. To suggest such weaknesses are confined to one corporate or national culture is a first step into dangerous complacency.当保守的目标、不能排斥的管理压力以及掌控脆弱同时经常出现时,不端不道德之后不会很快蔓延到。输掉企业看见虚报的数字,就不会想方设法附上差不多的数字。指出这种爱好为某一家企业或某种民族文化所独特,就是步入危险性轻视的第一步。


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